The Ultimate Guide To O’ahu’s Nightlife

Now, when you think of Hawaii, your mind doesn’t instantly go to its nightlife.

You think of that brilliant sunshine, waking up early to top up your tan all day, relaxing by the beach, and then maybe watching the sunset with a drink or two.

The Ultimate Guide To O’ahu’s Nightlife

But in O’ahu, particularly in Honolulu, the island holds as much life after dark, as it does in the daytime.

Waikiki homes several different clubs, bars, and late-night ventures.

So throughout this article, we’ll take a deeper look into all of these, so that you can find the perfect late-night option for you.

Bars

If you want to know some of the top bars to visit when visiting O’ahu, look no further.

Below you’ll find a list of all the bars you won’t want to miss:

Arnolds – Waikiki

If you’re looking for a Hawaiian bar with Tiki vibes, then run don’t walk to Arnolds.

This beach-themed Tiki bar has great decor, so if you’re hoping to get some good photos for social media, you’ll love it here. It also has great live music and nice energy.

Bar 35 – Chinatown

If you’re particularly partial to a great tasting beer, then this will be a little piece of heaven for you.

You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to selecting your drink as there are over 100 different beers on the menu.

If you can get there before ten pm you’ll even make it in time for happy hour!

Bar Leather Apron – Chinatown

Cocktail enthusiasts will want to ensure that they stop by Chinatown’s Bar Leather Apron.

If you’re looking for an intimate setting where you can sip away on a professionally made cocktail then this is the spot for you.

And while there is a comprehensive list of cocktails at your disposal, if there is something that isn’t on the menu, the bartenders are usually more than happy, and more importantly able, to fix it right up for you.

Wang Chung’s/In Between – Waikiki

Wang Chung’s/In Between - Waikiki

Looking for a good laugh, or somewhere to showcase your singing skills? Then either of these destinations will deliver.

You might not think it, but the karaoke scene is more popular than you’d think.

These bars can tend to get quite packed and are brimming with energy, so settle in, have a drink to settle the nerves, and bust out your best rendition of your favorite song!

Gaslamp – Kailua

If you want to give Kailua’s speakeasy a visit, you’ll need to make a reservation quite far in advance. This is a more sophisticated bar, that plays live jazz and serves delicious cocktails.

This contrasts quite a bit with many of the other sports bars that are more popular throughout Kailua.

Grace In Growlers – Kailua

If you’re hoping to fit in with a local beer crowd, then get yourself down to Grace In Growlers. You will be limited to a maximum of 36 oz of beer but all the profits of the bar go to charity which is great.

Tiki’s Bar And Grill – Waikiki

If an outdoor bar is more your style, then this is the bar for you. This is a great option for those that want to sit outside and watch the sunset, drink in hand.

Bacchus – Waikiki

If you are part of the LGBTQ community and are hoping to find a local gay bar, then Bacchus will be your best choice. At night it is always filled with a great atmosphere and a whole lot of dancing.

Bevy Bar – Kaka’ako

If you are hoping to get a more authentic experience instead of a touristic feel then check out Kaka’ako’s Bevy Bar. It’s a very popular venue where the cocktails and food served are focused more on the locals.

Live Music

If I were to list every pub, bar, and venue that plays live music on the island, you’d still be reading this article in a week’s time, so instead I’ve focused on what I think are some of the best venues available.

Hawaiian Brain’s – Ala Moana

This bar is great for music played by local bands trying to make it in the music world.

And if the full stage and concerts weren’t enough to keep you entertained throughout the night, there are also pool tables, arcade games, darts, and ping pong tables.

If you’re looking for a venue that’s going to keep you entertained all through the night then this is the place to be.

The Dragon Upstairs – Chinatown

Another bustling spot for music by local bands is The Dragon Upstairs.

This second-floor venue is a much smaller more intimate option than that above, for those who prefer fewer crowds. It does, however, still provide fantastic food and excellent drinks.

Waikiki Shell – Waikiki

It’s important to note that the Waikiki Shell isn’t as good as it once was, however, it can still have its moments. It really depends on who is headlining the shows that are put on here.

Sometimes it can be a little too quiet, but since it is only a short distance from the Waikiki beach, it’s always worth the wander over.

Blue Note – Hawai’i

As you can probably tell from the name, The Blue Note is a jazz club. It hosts performances from many local and professional acts such as comedians, musicians, and entertainers.

The jazz club has many venues across the globe and is renowned for a good show, so be sure to check their schedule and see who’s on.

Dukes – Waikiki

If you want a venue filled with live music that gives the perfect beachy vibes then Dukes is the place for you.

Although, it’ll be you and everyone else on the island. Dukes is one of the most packed and popular venues, but given it’s just beside the beach it’s not hard to see why.

It’s loved by many due to the incredible views of the sunset, of course snagging a table at this time will take some doing.

You’ll be much more likely to score a table once the sun goes down.

Dance Venues & Clubs

If you’re looking for somewhere to dance the night away, don’t worry I’ve got you covered too.

District – Honolulu

District - Honolulu

If you’re wanting somewhere more modern and trendy to spend the night then you’ll want to give District a go.

It has a massive dance floor, as well as VIP areas, flashing neon lights, and all sorts of DJs to help you dance through the dark.

The club stays open till 4 am but is only open throughout the weekend.

Addiction – Ala Moana

If you want that VIP feeling, Addiction is the place to be. They offer bottle service and you’ll walk through velvet ropes to get inside this modern hotel.

The club is open until 3 am and opens Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Manifest – Chinatown

Don’t you just love multipurpose venues? Manifest will serve you the best coffee to get you through the day, and the tastiest cocktails to get you through the night.

Once the sun sets, this unassuming coffee shop turns into a great popular nightclub that fits right in with Chinatown’s nightlife scene.

Next Door – Honolulu

If your nightclub of choice is more along the lines of a warehouse vibe or underground music then you’ll want to check out Next Door. You’ll find a vast selection of shows, DJs, live bands, and sometimes film screenings.

You’ll love this venue if you have an eclectic taste in music as it plays songs from electronic to reggae, to heavy metal.

Scarlet Bar And Dance Club – Chinatown

Now, if you are a fan of drag shows then you’ll really want to make sure you take a trip down to Chinatown.

You’ll find mainly EDM or pop music played in this venue and you’ll be able to party till 2 am both Friday and Saturday nights.

Haus Supper Club – Honolulu

If you want a karaoke night that won’t end in the early evening then check out Haus Supper Club.

This club has so much going on it can be hard to keep track of everything. There’s live music, there’s DJs, karaoke rooms, and even a sushi speakeasy.

Entertainment & Weekly Events

Lua’us – Island Wide

No matter your location on the island, you should be able to find a Lua’us event. Each is a little different from the other so you’ll want to try and find out what exactly is going on around you.

But you can be assured that you’ll get some top-quality family entertainment, delicious dinner, and great drinks.

Art After Dark – Honolulu

While drinks are available should you want them, this is a great option for those who’d like to experience nightlife that doesn’t revolve around alcohol.

Art After Dark is held on the last Friday of every month at the Museum of Art.

The art presented is always incredible and the themes rotate each month, so no visit is ever the same.

Friday Night Fireworks – Waikiki

Friday Night Fireworks - Waikiki

If you find yourself near the shores of the Hilton Hawaiian Village, you’ll be able to see a stunning firework display take place every Friday evening.

What better way can you spend your night than sitting on the beach watching the sky come alive with color?

The show will start at 8 pm from June through to September. Keep in mind that the show starts fifteen minutes earlier in the fall. The show only lasts for around four minutes so be sure to be sat ready and waiting. Trust me, it’s something you won’t want to miss.

Sunset On The Beach – Waikiki

If you aren’t a fan of nursing a hangover while on holiday, this is a great nighttime activity that is sure to be unlike anything you’ve done before that doesn’t need to involve alcohol.

Every weekend a movie is projected onto a large screen on Queen’s beach right across from the Honolulu Zoo.

This can be a great date night idea, or family night activity, as you all cuddle up with blankets and watch a great movie on the beach!

Nature At Night

While most people opt to explore the nature of the island while the sun is shining, there are a few choices for after dark that you may not want to miss.

Moon Walk – Waimea Valley

You’ll need to check the dates on this one because Waimea Valley only opens its doors once a month for this walk when the moon is full. It is an amazing experience to go exploring in the moonlight.

You’ll even get to see a waterfall!

There are two start times 8 pm and 8.30 pm so you’ll have to plan and try and acquire tickets for this popular activity

Star Parties

These are great for all those astronomy enthusiasts. Most Saturdays Hawai’i’s Astronomical Society will organize star parties when the moon rises late or early.

Final Thoughts

You think of a Hawaiin island, and there’s no doubting that you’re thinking about lounging on a perfect white beach in the scorching hot sun. Perhaps you have a cocktail in your hand, perhaps it’s a book. And since O’ahu is such a gorgeous island, it’s not hard to see why people get blindsided by all the activities that are available throughout the day.

However, O’ahu after dark is just as pretty and can be just as fun. In fact, the nightlife is immensely popular and there is a vast selection of bars, clubs, and shows, so no matter what your style, there’ll be something that suits you. There are loads of options for those who like busy and bustling clubs, to those who like more intimate settings and cozier venues, there are places for cocktail-conesures and places for beer-enthusiasts.

And if drinking isn’t really your style, or you’re looking for family-friendly activities there are also plenty of venues for shows appropriate for all ages, and great nature walks that will be set alight in the moonlight.

If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy our article on ‘Best Zipline In Maui‘.

Richard Ennis